[bactttoma] 3 mtr Melbourne Talk Radio to launch next Monday morning at 6 am on 1377 a m in Melbourne.

  • From: steven taylor <steven_taylor10@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: bactttoma@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2010 11:31:16 +1000

Taken from the Melbourne Age.

IT’S still four more days until  this city’s newest radio station — Melbourne 
Talk Radio 1377 — begins broadcasting, going head-to-head with 774 ABC and 
ratings king 3AW. But the first shots in what will be an intriguing  battle 
have already been fired.

As soon as MTR revealed its line-up last week, 3AW’s management crunched the 
numbers and announced  57per cent of its rival’s content would come from Sydney 
(compared with 0.2 per cent on 3AW).

These figures do not account for MTR’s daily hour of highlights, which will 
include some Melbourne content, and two of the Sydney hosts will each broadcast 
an hour of unique Melbourne content every weekday. Still, the proportion of 
Melbourne-specific programming on MTR is  just 50.1 per cent.

That’s not how MTR wants you to see it, of course. And to be fair, the key 
slots of breakfast (hosted by Steve Price, who is also the station’s program 
manager), mornings (Steve Vizard) and drive (Martin King) are local. Chances 
are you’ll hear a Melbourne show when you listen to MTR.

Well, if you listen, that is.

At last week’s glitzy launch at Crown Casino, Price promised that MTR would be 
‘‘in your face’’ and ‘‘right-wing’’. (AlthoughHerald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt, 
who will present a daily segment on Price’s show, took umbrage with this 
description. ‘‘I’m not right-wing,’’ he protested, ‘‘and I think you’re wrong 
to suggest this will be a right-wing station. I think ‘conservative’ is more 
the go.’’)

Either way, it seems MTR will provide a genuine alternative to  the established 
talk titans. But will Melburnians warm to this brash, confrontational style?

Naysayers point to the late Stan Zemanek, whose shouty, aggressive persona — 
which drew big audiences in Sydney — fell flat during his brief stint at 3AW 
several years ago. It was declared Melburnians ‘‘don’t like being yelled at’’ 
and combative shock jocks have no place in our city. Yet it’s possible 
Zemanek’s failure simply reflected a dislike for Zemanek rather than an entire 
style of broadcasting.

And this kind of radio does very well in other cities. In Sydney, for instance, 
MTR’s sister station 2GB has a 14.7 per cent audience share — almost triple the 
5.3 per cent of 3AW’s harbourside sister 2UE. No doubt MTR  aims to replicate 
2GB’s triumph here. Yet 2GB’s dominance occurred only after it poached Alan 
Jones and Ray Hadley from 2UE. MTR’s bid to lure the top-rating Neil Mitchell 
from 3AW, however, was unsuccessful. This is not to suggest that MTR will 
prosper only if it steals its rivals’ hosts but it can be damn hard to convince 
middle-aged radio listeners to change stations.

Just ask DMG. In 2005, the company launched Vega, which featured a mix of 
Sydney and Melbourne-based talk programs. It was a ratings disaster.

‘‘Talk needs to be local,’’ station boss Sam Thompson said last year, 
reflecting on Vega’s woes. ‘‘3AW, for example, would never do a 
Sydney-Melbourne show.’’

Of course, Vega offered much less Melbourne-only content than MTR. 
Nevertheless, it targeted the same 40-plus group — a group many believe will 
only try a new station if they’re unhappy with their current one.

Unlike FM music fans, who flick between stations, 3AW’s audience tends to 
listen for long periods of time, suggesting a high level of satisfaction and 
loyalty. Which is not necessarily bad news for MTR. If it can convince 
listeners to give it a go and can impress them with its offering, they should 
stick around.

Naturally, 3AW and 774 have been making lots of ‘‘we welcome the competition’’ 
noises. It’s hard to believe they mean it, especially in the case of the 
profit-driven 3AW. Even so, they’re right: competition is good, at least for 
the audience.

Unfortunately, MTR has done little to improve the diversity on our airwaves. 
Perhaps not surprisingly for a self-described right-wing station, all its 
presenters are men (apart from Women’s Weekly editorial director Deborah 
Thomas, who can be heard on a Sunday morning).

In fact, of the 30 weekday hosts on our three talk stations, 29 are middle-aged 
males. It seems  an enlarged prostate is still a requirement of the job.

‘‘I would like to have as many female personalities on air as possible,’’ Price 
said at the launch, ‘‘and I am actively seeking out women.’’

Where he would position women in his already crowded line-up remains to be seen.

Melbourne Talk Radio 1377 AM launches at 6am on Monday.


Source: theage.com.au

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  • » [bactttoma] 3 mtr Melbourne Talk Radio to launch next Monday morning at 6 am on 1377 a m in Melbourne. - steven taylor